web analytics

Softly, softly treatment for militant employers

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, November 17th, 2009 - 9 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:

The continuing wave of lockouts continues to go unremarked by the government, the opposition and the media.

Over the past few months there has hardly been a week, when one, or even two, and sometimes even three lockouts have been going on around the country.

This week has been no different;

The continuing lockout of coal miners at Rotowaro by Solid Energy who are trying to continue contracting out and casualising the mining industry, now entering its third week, was yesterday joined by the employers at Amcor who have locked out their workforce in an effort to bludgeon their employees into giving up their smoko breaks and accepted manning levels. Even Parliament is threatening to lockout its security guards indefinitely if they take another 2-hour stirke.

Imagine the outcry if instead of a wave of lockouts by employers to cut wages and enforce layoffs and casualisation, there was a wave of strikes by workers for better wages and conditions, and permanent jobs.

The loud denunciations by MPs from the pulpit of parliament would be carried in banner headlines. Experts and commentators would be filling the radio airwaves and making guest appearances on TV. Editorialists would be spilling copious amounts of ink in the press, bemoaning “greedy workers”, “wrecker unionists” and my all time favourite “lazy featherbedders”, accusing these “overpaid and under-worked”, “industrial militants” of “holding the country to ransom”.

Fortunately, despite the tacit endorsement of their aggressive actions by the government and the media, the militant employers keep losing time and again as they come up against staunch workers.

9 comments on “Softly, softly treatment for militant employers ”

  1. Daveo 1

    I think the media has been pretty fair in its reporting of recent industrial disputes, but you’re right that the commentariat has been virtually silent.

    I think it’s a basic issue of class here – most media commentators are in comfortable well-paid jobs and circulate among the elite.

    These people don’t know what it’s like to struggle to pay the bills, and their lack of a wider perspective leaves them blind to the current industrial offensive by militant employers and what it means for the people on the receiving end of it.

  2. Noko 2

    It’s even sadder when you don’t see Labour supporting them. Workers party, my ass.

    • Daveo 2.1

      Labour’s actually been pretty supportive, they were right behind the Open Country workers and the Telecom engineers and more recently they’ve stood by the striking workers at Parliamentary Services and the Ministry of Justice.

      I’ve been fairly critical of their record in government but I can’t fault them in their support for striking and locked out workers over the last year.

  3. The Voice of Reason 3

    It’s also sad when people don’t do research before making sweeping statements.

    The Labour Party has made comment about the lockouts, as a quick search of Red Alert would show. And even better, Labour Party MP’s joined the Dairy Workers’ picket line at Waharoa and I’m told Trevor Mallard attended a DWU Executive meeting to offer support and to listen to the Waharoa delegates’ experiences.

    Damien O’Connor has fronted the Miner’s picket down south, as well. So it would be fair to say Labour are far from silent and even better, they are actually active on the matter.

    • Sorry but “Comments” and PR stunts mean little to these workers. Where is Labour’s commitment to alternative economic policies that ensure secure jobs and a decent wage for workers?

      • The Voice of Reason 3.1.1

        Cool, LRO, it must mean so much for the workers to have you speaking for them. Did they vote you into that position or are you just assuming they’re happy that you know what matters to them?

        I guess you’re busy, so to save you the time it takes to google “labour policies”, I suggest you start here:

        http://labourparty.org.nz/policy/

        As you’ll see, it’s the 2008 version. If you really want to speak for workers, you could join the Labour party, put up the ideas you think labour needs, convince the rest of the party to adopt them, get them in the election manifesto and then convince NZ to vote for them.

        As I’ve said in earlier posts, now is the time to join Labour. There is no question that the next electoral platform could be radically different if there is an influx of new ideas from new members.

      • Noko 3.1.2

        leftrightout has hit the mark.

  4. prism 4

    This contracting out – making the worker assume a business-management role is a real stinker. It has been tried lately with the Telecom Chorus service people.
    They are responsible for a lot of the office work previously carried out by the company. Another thing that happens is that people don’t receive proper safety training, or aren’t under control from an employer and skip safety procedures and accidents happen as in a man and his teenage son killed by fumes in a vat they were cleaning.

    As for the miners – shades of Victor Hugo and the French miners ground down by piece work and responsible for shoring up their workplace in their own time. What conditions Chinese miners work under I don’t know but they have had big casualties. I have a book on Finton Patrick Walsh and he saw in the USA how some mining companies ground down their workers. I think one delegate was murdered. It is noticeable that neither under communism or capitalism can workers in dangerous occupations expect good conditions without pressure being brought to bear by them.

  5. Rob Carr 5

    Hopefully we can one day see the end to all lockouts. They are a vastly unfair way of dealing with workers and should not be allowed to happen let alone fall under the radar of the media. I have heard of quite a few myself but I am sure there are even more that slipped by…

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago